Suppose you’re an inventor who set your first Guinness World Record by building what was, at the time, the world’s tallest rideable motorcycle. What do you do after that? Swedish inventor Tom Wiberg's 1999 record-setting Big Toe is a tractor-tired, Jaguar V12-powered, 3,600 pound beast. So, how do you top it?
Easy, Wiberg thought. Why not make a motorcycle for ants? Thus, we’re pretty sure, the Smalltoe was born—or some sequence of events to that effect. Amazingly, in 2003, Wiberg managed to set yet another Guinness world record on his newest ride. By contrast, it weighs just 2.4 pounds, has a seat height of 65 millimeters, (or 2.55 inches), and can go at a top speed of about 1.24 miles per hour. No brakes. No suspension. It’s a motor-powered cycle and that’s it.
Is it a prime example of “just because you can doesn’t mean you should”? That’s a totally subjective statement. What we do know for certain is that Wiberg’s world record for this bike still stands to this day, some 17 years after the fact. He wore special boots with metal lugs that slotted into place on either side of the bike, so that he could ride it for a total of 32.8 feet and set that particular world record. At the time, he said he’d have ridden it further if a container wasn’t in the way.
Sure enough, in the video, you can see that it looks like he’s going to barrel straight into the corner of that thing. Once again, just because you can go well in a straight line doesn’t mean a bike’s handling is good at turns, amirite? It’s unclear what has since happened to this eensy bike that fits in the palm of your hand. One thing we do know is that it didn’t go on to fetch $88,000 at a Barrett-Jackson auction in 2011, unlike the Big Toe. Guess a V12-engined ridiculous motobeast that requires training wheels to operate had a more serious draw for a certain buyer. Hey, everyone likes what they like, right? Right. Who am I to yuck your yum?
Sources: YouTube, Guinness World Records, Barrett-Jackson